Thinking About June

First, for no good reason whatsoever, here’s a picture of Spice, turned into a faux-pastel drawing through the magic of Photoshop filters. I think it looks pretty good, actually.

Second, June starts on Monday and I’m going to use the switchover in months as an excuse to get back into a work setting. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been entirely idle prior to this; January and February I actually did a fair amount of work (I finished the next Dispatcher installment and wrote a couple of TV scripts) and in April and May I promoted The Last Emperox pretty heavily and also did some backend business stuff, which I personally find pretty exciting but the fruits of which you’re not likely to see for a while (and which I can’t talk about in detail yet, sorry).

What I haven’t done since I’ve gotten back from the JoCo Cruise in mid-March, however, is any new creative work of note. I don’t feel too bad about this, because the world has undergone some literally cataclysmic changes in that timeframe, and I think most of us can be forgiven in being shaken up about it and also trying to find our feet again. But I also know when the deadline to turn in my next novel is, and this time I would like to write it in a manner that doesn’t require a mad rush of writing at the end. Which means starting writing now (well, Monday). That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see how it works.

Over the last couple of projects, I have developed a process that I think works reasonably well for me. In the mornings, between 8am and noon, I use my Freedom app to block news and social media sites, so that I don’t have those to distract me from doing my creative writing during those hours. After that I tend to my other business (emails and non-creative writing) and, while I don’t have any blocking software on at that point, I pretty much try to avoid most news until about 5pm, i.e., when everything I need to do with my day is done and I won’t be distracted by being angry at whatever is happening in the world that day. It’s weird to think of scheduling one’s angry time, but, well. Welcome to 2020, y’all.

More to the point (for me, anyway), having a schedule is pretty much how I have to live my life these days. Younger me might be a little appalled at how much 51-year-old me needs schedules, but 51-year-old me has come to terms with how easily distracted he is, and how distracting the world is, especially now. It’s not a good combination for getting creative things done. Creativity, or my creativity, anyway, needs a little bit of space and time on a daily basis in order to get going and keep going. That means a schedule. Shut up, you’ll be older too, one day, and when you are you’ll probably find a schedule helps you too.

So, June: Back to work for me. I think you’ll appreciate the effort. Eventually.

17 thoughts on “Thinking About June

  1. Speaking of JoCo, I’ve been relistening to “Solid State” and it’s even more eerily appropriate now than it was when it was released.

  2. John, don’t know whether you have heard yet but UNCLE HUGO’S bookstore was torched and burned out in the rioting. Total loss. Insurance probably won’t cover anything (civil disturbance ya know even there there was NOTHING civil about it!). I assume there will be a crowdfunding set up to help with the expenses although it won’t restore all the lovely books and memories. Please pass the word about this (another) senseless tragedy.

    Anne in Virginia

  3. I’m pretty sure it’s an indicator of my failure to yet have my morning cup of coffee that I saw this post title in my email and thought “Who’s June?”

    Then I opened it, saw the pic of Spice, and thought, “wait, there’s another cat that looks just like Spice that I can’t remember Scalzi ever mentioning, named June?!”

    Off now to make coffee and *then* read the rest of the post so I’ll know what the hell you’re talking about when I do.

  4. So, anything at all about the next novel, other than that it will be a novel? New universe? Return to a familiar one? Will there be dragons? Starships? Starships that are living dragons who belch FTL flames? (And who maybe use the word ‘fuck’ a lot?)

    Not that we’re all dying to read such a wondrous tale ;-)

  5. Sitting around here waiting to see the next SpaceX launch, with a live crew this time. Fingers and toes crossed it goes spectacularly well…

  6. You are wise to schedule your time like that. News of the bad crap going on could very easily suck out any creative energy you need to work. It amazes me that this kind of thing is going on in MN. Witnesses and videos show young white men doing some of the worst arson. Maybe people from outside exercising their “freedom” and cops doing false flag.

    The buildings burned make no sense. Maybe an attempt to start race riots? People living in the area are very concerned and astonished over what is going on.

  7. Interesting that you should post this now. I have been thinking a lot along those same lines. I need to schedule my time in order to get anything done, creative or otherwise. Distractions abound, especially nowadays. I plan on getting back to a routine starting Monday. Here’s to both of us finding our way back to a reasonable facsimile of normal.

  8. @Anne in Virginia – I would suggest ever so politely that you might take a step back on referring to a destroyed building as “another senseless tragedy”, given the circumstances. No I don’t condone property damage but the destruction of a building that is likely covered by insurance and for whom supporters will likely flood a go-fund-me is not a “senseless tragedy”. It’s a brutal and unfortunate response to what IS a senseless tragedy – the violent, racist death of George Floyd and the ongoing racist killings of black people for simply existing in America.

    And I have a hard time condemning people who have been pushed to the very edge of what they can handle, who know that when they protest peacefully, they get called “sons of bitches” and lose their careers. I don’t blame them for feeling like they want to burn down the world right now.

  9. I really need to start setting a schedule. I’m trying to get better about it, but somehow I end up spending literally all day in Animal Crossing…

  10. I don’t think as you have gotten older you need to schedule your time, it’s just you have gotten wiser about your own productivity.

  11. @pkeet99, I totally agree. Speaking as a 30 year old, I know I would be a complete bum without a schedule (streaming video is a productivity killer for me, but I also wouldn’t want to be stuck inside without it). On the other hand, I do know some people who can actually be productive without a schedule and closing out the rest of the world.

    @scalzi, do you think that you’ve needed a schedule more as you’ve aged, or just that you’ve realized it makes you happier with your level of productivity?

  12. A belated response to your “disaster in Denver” dream post. Remembering a vivid colorful dream is a good thing, I reckon. Red sprinkles on white ice cream? What a wonderfully primal image. When a culture starts building a lexicon of color terms, black (or dark) and white (or bright) come first, followed by red. After that, things get interesting. One single term might cover blue and green, or there might be multiple terms for various shades of red. Color perception is fascinating.

    Thanks for the Spice pic, and best o’ luck with the schedule.

  13. I just wanted to stop by and thank you so much for unleashing my favorite character in forever, Kiva Lagos, on my mind and the literary world. I’m normally not a sci-fi guy but this was too good to pass up. If she were real, I would work for her just so I could be a spectator. Thanks!

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